Malacañang on Thursday said online gambling is not illegal in the Philippines, amid calls from the Chinese Foreign Ministry to ban all forms of it.
“We have previously stated our position on that. Under our laws, it’s not illegal,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters.
On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang urged the government to “go further and ban all online gambling”
because their citizens used it in money laundering from China.
Chinese funds are also illegally flown out of China and into the Philippines through cross-border money laundering, he said.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. recently stopped accepting applications of Philippine offshore gaming operator licenses.
Shuang expressed hope that the Pagcor’s decision would pave the way for an outright ban, and would strengthen law enforcement cooperation with China, which has outlawed online gambling.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also said the government does not benefit from offshore gaming operations.
Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima urged the administration to heed the warning by the Department of National Defense about the proximity of POGO hubs to vital military camps.
“It’s better to err on the side of caution. It’s even beyond caution, a cause for serious concern,” said De Lima.
“We cannot set aside the possibility that these POGO hubs could be used for illegal activities that could compromise the safety and sovereignty of our country,” she added.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has earlier expressed apprehension about the close location of existing and upcoming POGO establishments
to several military camps in Metro Manila and nearby province of Cavite, but President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed such concerns, saying the Chinese could spy from far away.
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